Singapore was a unique place created by the Chinese diaspora, and continued to draw the Chinese diaspora to its shores — it was Chinese diaspora central! I also felt at home there because it was the one country in the world where I felt truly comfortable as an English and Manglish/Singlish speaking overseas Chinese. Finally, I was in a place where the majority population looked like me and spoke like me too.That's understandable; she had found a place to live where she had a sense of living amongst her own ethny, namely the Chinese diaspora.
But what's really fascinating is that the Chinese diaspora population has such a sense of its own existence that it doesn't like the idea of large numbers of mainland Chinese migrating to Singapore.
Christine's story runs as follows. Whilst living in Singapore she became aware of increasing numbers of mainland Chinese living there:
But as time passed, I started feeling a disparity — it certainly seemed like there were more mainland Chinese than other Chinese foreigners in Singapore.
However, she then moved to mainland China herself:
I’ve been here two years, the typical overseas Chinese girl who has gone back to her ancestral land.
Living amongst the mainland Chinese put her mind at rest about what was happening in Singapore. That is, until she found out about the extent of mainland Chinese immigration into Singapore. It turns out that 1 million out of 5 million people in Singapore are from the People's Republic. This statistic startled her as it did Singaporeans:
According to a population census dated September 2010, Singapore’s population currently stands at about 5.07 million. That makes nearly one in five here a Chinese national.Christine wrote:
Netizens largely react with shock and dismay to this news, calling it a “staggeringly huge number”
...this news comes as a shock to me as well. Knowing that there are “many mainland Chinese” in Singapore is one thing; being given a figure like 1 million — when your country’s population is only 5 million — is something else. I can understand why Singaporeans are upset. Take away the mainland Chinese aspect and replace it with “nearly 1 million eskimos are living in Singapore” and you would still get an uproar. Tell any country a fifth of its people are all from one other place, and you’d get a strong reaction. It’s not so much hating on PRCs and more about uncertainty over your own identity, isn’t it?Christine, well put, but for some Westerners the situation of Singaporeans seems relatively luxurious - the immigrants to Singapore are, after all, a closely related population (the differences being mostly limited to those of language and manners). The stress on identity is much greater for, say, an Englishman in London or a white American in Los Angeles.